18 October 2019

La digue (?) ou la jetée ?

I've never known how to translate the word "pier" into French. At least one person I knew well called it une digue (a dike). I've also seen the term une jetée (a jetty). Neither one of those words seems to me to translate "pier" (as in fishing pier).

Be that as it may, yesterday Sue and I walked out on the fishing pier called Oceanana on Atlantic Beach, N.C.  It was a windy and almost chilly morning. A lot of people were fishing.

We were happy to see this little boy hook and pull up a sea trout, with the help of his father.

Above is a shot looking down the beach, basically toward the west. The big building in the photo is the Doubletree hotel, which is closed because of damage it suffered in recent hurricanes.

Finally, here's a video showing what the surf looked like yesterday morning. Today the ocean is back to being very calm — almost glassy. What they call a "slick ca'm" around here.


  1. Your photo shows a hotel closed because of recent hurricane damage. Is there much hurricane damage elsewhere around Beaufort? Roderick

  2. "quai de pêche?" The beaches are beautiful...Nice sand.

  3. IMHO, here the right word is jetée which is a structure build always perpendicular to the shore, wether it is seashore, lakeshore or riverbank. A digue, on the other hand, is a structure meant to protect seashores and riverbanks from the assaults of water ; consequently, it can be built parallele to them.

    I personnaly have no recollection of a wooden jetée in France as can be seen in the US.

  4. To me, a jetty is always stone built and protects aharbour entrance... and is often recurved at the outer end.
    A dike [GB - dyke] is earth built and tends to be on marshy ground to act as a breakwater / protection from the sea for agricultural land.... and tends to run longshore as chm says.
    A pier is exactly as photographed above.. a walkway on stilts that allows fishing... and the boarding of boats that are too deep drafted to come further inshore.

  5. Linguee say....
    pier n = quai m jetée f ponton m pile f môle m débarcadère m
    OK, take your choice....

    1. Thank you Tim for those long forgotten words, especially ponton whose definition on the CNRTL dictionary fits exactly that of a fishing pier. It says a ponton is a platform on stilts!

  6. Another term I see used in Western Africa and Québec is quai de pêche (for fishing pier).

    Un ponton is a pontoon in English, and it generally is used to describe a floating platform. A (temporary) pontoon bridge, for example.

    1. Voici ce que je trouve à PONTON dans le CNRTL

      C. − Plate-forme flottante ou sur pilotis ayant divers usages. Ponton des bains. Ponton de blanchisseuses amarré contre le bord (Flaub., Éduc. sent., t.1, 1869, p.83).Un ponton de bois, amarré pour les pêcheurs, dansait mollement à deux ou trois mètres de la rive (Duhamel, Terre promise, 1934, p.28).
      − En partic. Plate-forme flottante ou sur pilotis reliée au bord et servant de point d'arrivée et de départ ainsi que de station aux bateaux de voyageurs. Ponton d'embarquement; être sur le ponton:
      2. Je gagnai la Seine pour prendre l'Hirondelle qui me déposerait à Saint-Cloud. Comme j'aimais cette attente du bateau sur le ponton. Il me semblait que j'allais partir pour le bout du monde... Maupass., Contes et nouv., t.1, Souv., 1884, p.533.

      Tu noteras qu'en plus d'une plate-forme flottante (anglais pontoon), un ponton est aussi une plate-forme sur pilotis, donc fixe comme celle que représente ta première photo. Quai de pêche est un canadianisme, puisque les Canadiens français traduisent souvent littéralement d'anglais en français, le mot PIER s'appliquant à un nombre de structures tout à fait différentes. Un quai n'est jamais perpendiculaire au bord de mer ou de rivière, mais il les longe.

    2. Here's another term: une pêcherie sur pilotis. It's what small, individual fishing piers are called on the Atlantic coast in the Gironde, Charente maritime, and Vendée départements are called.

    3. I gues you finally found the right translation into French for fishing pier. I had never heard of a pécherie sur pilotis, but that does't mean it didn't exist ;-)

      The definition of pécherie in the CNRTL is rather vague!


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